FORT WORTH, Texas - In a letter to Fort Worth's faith community, Mayor Betsy Price is asking church leaders to close church doors and cancel in-person services at houses of worship based on federal guidelines and on the heels of what some call confusion at the state level.
"Fort Worth is now considered to have substantial community spread of the virus,” the mayor said in the letter. “Per the CDC, when there is substantial community transmission, all community and faith-based gatherings of any size must be canceled or postponed."
Pastor Jack Crane of Truevine Missionary Baptist Church agrees. His congregation will only host services streamed via the internet.
He's part of a coalition of churches called Faith and Community Leaders United. As Easter Sunday approaches, the group has begun a red ribbon campaign that encourages worshipping while home and strengthening the family while being optimistic.
"Trouble don't last always. This will be over with. This storm will pass,” Crane said. “Don't wait until the bounty is over. Shout now, and look and get excited and see what's going to come and what we have on the other side of this."
The mayor’s letter is on the heels of Governor Greg Abbott earlier this week relaxing guidelines to allow some worship services as long as social distancing is practiced.
Mayor Price points out it is imperative not to let up too early in the fight to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The CDC's guidelines permit online services and drive-thru communion or worship with congregants remaining in their vehicles. If parked, they must be at least six feet apart.